THE RED Devils have reached sacred ground.
St. Clairsville High's talented and ambitious basketball team has laid claim to a piece of the Holy Land. Coach Kim Clifford's charges are headed to the Ohio Division II Final Four.
It is an achievement of slam-dunk proportions. St. C. is just the 12th OVAC boys' team to make the Ohio state tournament since the conference's inception some seven decades ago.
The state tourney is the latest in a bevy of accomplishments this season for a team nary a senior. The Red Devils have won 22 straight games to hike their sparkling record to 23-2.
Moreover, last month St. C. captured its first-ever OVAC boys' hoop banner. That preceded sectional, district and regional crowns.
With so much success already in hand, the Red Devils remain a hungry bunch. They are focused for a shot at the holy grail: the state championship.
Obviously the task will not be an easy one. There are no slouches in the Final Four.
First up is Elida High, from western Ohio. The Bulldogs are 23-3 and have an all-state performer. The Red Devils and Bulldogs tangle Friday at 2 p.m. at the Schottenstein Center.
Once the Devils collar the 'Dogs as we expect, it will be on to the state title tilt Saturday at 4:30 p.m.. The final foe will either by Mentor Lake Catholic or unbeaten Dayton Dunbar.
St. Clairsville's trek to the state tournament took root years ago when this special group of hoopsters honed their skills at a young age. The Red Devils' recipe of success also features a heavy blend of dedication, teamwork, selflessness and obviously talent.
St. C.'s magical season could not have come to fruition without the quality leadership and guidance supplied by Clifford and his veteran staff. The Red Devils' passionate fanbase has fueled the drive with boundless energy.
It all adds up to a dream basketball campaign on the hilltop. One in which we hope proves a nightmare to two more opponents in Columbus.